Summer Buzzed With Our Solar Projects, BBQ & Film Screening

In this issue…

  • BEC raises £700k in 1 month
  • Our new solar projects kick off with Cardinal Newman Catholic School
  • We wrap up our EU-funded Solar Grant scheme; 33 businesses received funds
  • We host ‘The Atom: A Love Affair’, in collaboration with the Duke of York’s cinema & BHESCo
  • BEC Community Fund energy education continues in the city
  • We held a Summer BBQ & our 2023 AGM
  • Plus we’re launching a unique range of community energy t-shirts!
BEC Solar Bonds

BEC Bonds Sold Like Hot Cakes!

Changing tack on fundraising for this Summer’s pipeline sure paid off! 

In July and August, our first ever BEC Solar Bond offer raised £700,000 in just 1 month. We had to delay the launch while last minute legal documents were approved, but that didn’t dampen the local community’s enthusiasm for ethical investing. This incredible community fundraiser has paid for free solar for Cardinal Newman Catholic School, 4 further buildings at Shoreham Port and a huge warehouse at Newhaven Port that will be starting shortly. 

BEC Solar on Cardinal Newman Catholic School

Cardinal Newman Catholic School

696 solar panels now cover 10 roofs at Cardinal Newman Catholic School.  Generating 342kWp of clean, green solar electricity, the school will save thousands of pounds on their electricity bill each year. Thanks to our installers Genfit for this super aerial photo.

BEC Solar on Port Kitchen Shoreham

Shoreham Port Kitchen Cafe

Shoreham Port’s HQ building – Nautilus House, Maritime House, Maritime House Extension and the popular waterside Port Kitchen Cafe will now produce a further 120kW of carbon saving solar electricity annually. In fact 70% of the cafe’s electricity will be solar generated, adding to their already impressive sustainability efforts. 

And with other local schools, businesses and a university being supported through the community energy transition by our wonderful project development team, Matt Brown and David Owers, our climate action will continue to ramp up over the coming months. 

BEC Community Solar  Accelerator Grants

ERDF – Community Solar Accelerator Completed

Our EU-funded solar grant scheme – the Community Solar Accelerator (CSA) – is finally complete. What an incredible effort by the team to successfully allocate 33 grants to businesses in the Coast to Capital area.  The total solar electricity generated by these newly installed systems will be 2,414,000 kWh per year.  That’s an enormous carbon saving of 848 tonnes! Tangible local climate action on the ground – mission accomplished!

We paid out grants worth £714,400 to 33 mainly Sussex based small and medium sized businesses and made a real positive impact in a time where electricity costs are at an all-time high.

“The benefits of installing Solar PV will be great for our company. This will really help our business as we try to recover from the downturn as a result of the pandemic and the rising energy costs”, said a beneficiary.

It’s fantastic that we were able to help businesses build resilience in the local area during such a difficult economic environment.

All case studies are now available to see on our website here.  If you know a local business that uses lots of electricity and has a large roof they can still come to Brighton Energy Co-op for a community-owned solar system. Contact our new project developer

Damian & Will during BEC Summer BBQ Talk

Summer Members BBQ

We hosted a free BBQ & Old Tree Brewery Bar for our members, board & team on Aug 12th. The Low Carbon Trust’s Brighton Earthship was the perfect setting for 60 of us to celebrate all things BEC in the glorious green of Stanmer Park.

The Atom: A Love Film Q&A Panel

Left to right: BEC Chair – Will Cottrell, Director – Vicky Lesley, BHESCo Founder – Kayla Ente MBE & Prof. Andy Stirling

BEC & BHESCo Co-host Green Screen at Duke of York’s Cinema

When one of our members said she’d made a film about our “love affair” with nuclear power we were intrigued.  So intrigued we thought we’d do an online screening for our Members.  That turned into over 160 people attending the first ever public screening of the major international feature documentary ‘The Atom: A Love Affair’ on Sept 21st.   The film delves deep into the past of the world’s most controversial energy source. BEC & BHESCo worked together as co-hosts of this special community energy event to ensure it was a great success.

BEC’s Chair, Will Cottrell, hosted a Q&A panel after the film with Director Vicki Lesley (also consulting producer on Nettle Dress), BHESCo’s Founder & CEO, Kayla Ente MBE, a member of the Nuclear Consulting Group which consists of experts in academia and NGOs on the topic of nuclear, plus Professor of Science and Technology Policy at Sussex University, Andy Stirling.  Watch a short Q&A clip about Hinkley Point C here and view the full documentary here.

BEC 2023 AGM

Our 13th AGM was held at Werks Central with over 40 members and a few new bond holders who had come to meet the team.  It was great to be able to report on a busy pipeline of local solar projects and community events, along with a robust financial position heading into 2024.  Thanks to all who attended on 3rd Oct.

Secondary Students for a Sustainable Future

Secondary Students for a Sustainable Future

BEC’s Community Fund Contributes to City’s Energy Education

Oct 16th saw BEC Community Fund manager, Atlanta Cook, give a ‘Local Energy Snapshot’ presentation to 40 students selected from 5 local secondary schools at Brighton Town Hall.  ‘Secondary School Students for a Sustainable Future’ was organised by BHCC’s Our City Our World, working with Citizens UK to empower secondary students to lead the climate and sustainability agenda in their school. This valuable sustainability leadership training for local 13-15 year olds culminates in a December Summit where students will prioritise the issues they will focus on during the academic year. Read more about this Brighton & Hove City Council’s ‘Our City, Our World’ project here

We are now working with a local STEM teacher to fund the creation of a fun ‘hands on’ solar workshop kit and competition to spark the imaginations of kids in our 14 Solar Schools – watch this space!

In other good news…

New: BEC T-Shirts!

BEC Aztec God Tshirt

Finally, we’ve just launched a range of Brighton Energy t-shirts so you can show your support. Featuring a range of designs by our Chairman, Will Cottrell (who is also an artist), these groovy tees are a great – and unusual – way to wear your membership of Brighton Energy Coop with pride! You can also buy the t-shirt designs as prints via Will’s art website here

Thanks to all our members and supporters who continue to help us achieve our No.1 Goal – Local Action on Climate Change – in as many different ways as we can. Together we can do so much more.

All the best,

Brighton Energy Co-op

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